Is it time for Fitzgerald to curb his wing backs adventuring?

Jackie Tyrell on the Sunday Game claimed the sweeper system died when Kilkenny beat Wexford during the round robin series in the Leinster Championship.

Kilkenny, Galway and Clare showed how the efficient use of possession can nullify Shaun Murphy’s influence on the game. Further evolving of Wexford’s system will need to be made by Davy Fitzgerald over the winter with regards to their use of the sweeper.

But another area that may need to be addressed by Fitzgerald is the licence given to his wing backs to attack. During Saturday’s All Ireland Quarter final we noticed interesting trends with regards to how Clare exposed Diarmuid O Keefe and Paudie Foley.

In video below during the 46th minute of the game Paudie Foley made a lung busting run up the field which drew a foul and resulted in a scored free for Wexford which reduced the deficit to 5 points. Was the Wexford revival beginning?




What transpired was Clare exposing Foley on 2 of the next 3 plays in the game due to him being tired due his foray up the pitch. In an era where hurly carriers, people in the stand and management are all hooked up via microphones.

Players can receive vital information within seconds with the increase in communication due to the technology.

Play 1

The puck out directly after the scored free from Foley’s run, Clare goalkeeper Donal Touhy pucked the sliotar out to Tony Kelly. Kelly who was being picked up by Foley glided away to score a point and Foley was visibly still feeling the effects of his attacking efforts.

(See video below)




Play 2

Two plays later on a Clare puck out we can see that Foley was picking up Colm Galvin. After the break of the puck out Galvin moved on to the break with ease and we can see Foley unable to keep up with the Clonlara man.

(See Video Below)




Clare also exposed the area between the Wexford 65 and 45 which was left free due to Wexford’s wing backs moving up to the pitch when their team was on the attack.

Clare used possession intelligently and rather than hitting straight on top of John Conlan, they placed clearances in this free space for their full forward line to run on to. This use of possession also took Shaun Murphy’s influence from the game.

In the video below we see Clare turning over Wexford’s possession and exposing the area left free by Diarmuid O Keefe moving up to pitch in search for sliotar.




That said, Wexford’s continued revival underage and under the stewardship of Fitzgerald has brought great excitement to the league and championship. But what is clear after the Kilkenny, Galway and Clare defeats that Fitzgerald will have to adjust the set up of his team to take Wexford to the next level.


Stats for Saturdays Game

  • Clare won possession on 23 of their 31 puck outs.


  • Clare held possession from 26 of their 40 clearances in to the forward area. Hitting the sweeper/ spare Wexford player on 6 occasions.



  • Wexford won possession on 22 of their 37 puck outs. A problem area being their long puck outs losing 13 of their 20 long puck outs.


  • Wexford ran possession mostly in to the Clare half of pitch but they retained possession on 16 out of their 30 clearances in to their forward area. They hit Clare’s spare defender on 7 occasions with clearances.



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